A United States-based Ghanaian Professor, Kwaku Asare has challenged the directive issued by the Chief Justice Kwesi Anin-Yeboah asking judges to hear cases of senior lawyers first.
In the view of Prof Asare, any judge who believes that junior lawyers and their clients should spend time watching senior lawyers, is likely to be biased.
Mr Anin-Yeboah on Monday April 11 issued the circular to judges indicating that young lawyers need to learn from their senior colleagues.
To that end, the Chief Justice said “I would request all Trial Court Judges to strictly adhere to this age-old tradition and resort to inviting applications from Seniors first.
“The Legal Profession, as we know, is steeped in traditions and ceremonies. One of the traditions observed is the practice of calling cases of persons whose names are on the roll of Lawyers, in order of seniority of enrolment, notwithstanding the notion of equality at the Bar.
“This practice, among other benefits, affords the young Lawyer the opportunity to learn from Seniors to whom they would not ordinarily be exposed to; thus, enriching the whole legal training experience beyond what is taught in Chambers and other places of work.
“It has recently been drawn to my attention, that some Trial Court Judges are not observing this practice in court.
“Whilst the right to call a case out of turn is not absolute and is exercisable subject to the convenience of the court, for the reasons mentioned above, I would request all Trial Court Judges to strictly adhere to this age-old tradition and resort to inviting applications from Seniors first. I hope I can count on your cooperation,” the circular said.
But in a Facebook post reacting to this directive, Prof Asare who is also a senior private legal practitioner said “Justice is meaningless if it becomes a respector of senior lawyers. Judges swear to truly and faithfully perform the functions of their office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, and MUST not favour senior lawyers, thereby showing ill-will to junior lawyers.
“The judge who believes that junior lawyers and their clients should spend their time watching senior lawyers, is likely to be biased, even if unconsciously, by that belief.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana